These 2 consoles have been all of the hype in the gaming community since their releases back in November. Both had similar flaws at release. The current world pandemic also hindered a lot on what each company could do, especially in terms of the amount of consoles that we’re ready for the day 1 release. Today were going to take a dive into how each console is doing in terms of sales, what they could’ve done better and some personal experiences of mine.
What Microsoft and Sony Did Wrong
The biggest mistake that both of these companies made is they had 3rd party retailers sell the majority of their consoles. This meant that before any of the consoles were actually going to release you knew there was going to be some extreme inconsistencies. Each company did have The main retailers that these consoles were released at were Walmart, Target, BestBuy, Gamestop and Amazon.
I think by far my worst experience was at Target. Not one time did they ever release the time that they would release consoles online. Every single time they released a batch of consoles online it was completely random. You would have to be glued to your computer 24/7 constantly refreshing the webpage or get very lucky when checking.
To add to this their in person pickup was worse. You would have to get in line before the store opens and more than likely there was already 10 people in front of you. Each store was not even guaranteed a certain amount of either console. Some stores could have 10 in stock and others could have just 1 or 2. If that’s not bad enough they would not know which console they had in stock until the manager arrived right before the store opened. You could be the first person in line and you want a Playstation but that store you went to could only have the new Xbox. If that was the case you are just out of luck for that day. Long story short, Target dropped the ball on their release of the next generation consoles.
Best Buy’s Blunders
The next retailer that I had a bad experience at was Best Buy. Along with Target, all of their releases were completely at random. They are one of the few retailers that you could only purchase online, but then once the item was purchased you would have to pick it up in person. This system is flawed because you could have the item in your cart, but then would have to select a store to go pick up the item in person. This meant that you may have to drive long lengths to actually pick up your item. Another thing that is wrong with this is it benefited the customers that live near Best Buy’s that are less populated. It makes it not fair to everyone. As for their online orders, their website was not designed to handle the volume of people trying to buy 1 item all at one time and crashed multiple times when I was trying to checkout. In addition to all of this, BestBuy did not have any barriers to prohibit shopping bots from buying up all of consoles instantly. Best Buy was also poorly prepared for this release.
My experience at Walmart was way better than Target and Best Buy, but still not flawless. Walmart had everything right with their release times by announcing times that they would drop consoles. This was great except initially they also did not have any restrictions when checking out to stop the shopping bots from purchasing all of the consoles. They eventually put different parameters in place to stop the shopping bots. Walmart’s website on the first few releases crashed a bunch and could not handle the volume. When this would happen a little dog would pop up with antlers and say “Oh, deer the whole North Pole is trying to save big right now so please try again in a moment. Yule love our holiday deals! Head to Walmart.com to try again.
Initially my friends and I thought it was funny but after several failed attempts it got very annoying. For Walmart’s first 10 releases of the consoles they sold out within a minute of releasing, sometimes they would sell out before the webpage would refresh on your page. After all of these issues, I was finally able to get a console from Walmart after a few weeks but the process was far from painless.
Amazon’s Astounding Failure
Amazon is usually fantastic with releases of every kind but for the new Playstation and Xbox they were far from superb. Amazon never released specific times that they were going to release the next-gen consoles. They have everything in place to block out the shopping bots which is great. For the first few releases at Amazon they were very random. There were 3rd party retailers that were actually scammers trying to sell fake consoles. Amazon dealt with this issue seamlessly and providing refunds for everyone that was effected. With all that being said I did have some friends that were able to successfully buy either console off of Amazon. Amazon never seemed to sell out instantly either since they probably stocked up their inventory to prepare for the huge volume.
The most seamless next-gen console release that I experienced was Gamestop. They gave a small notice on when they would release consoles but at least they gave you a warning unlike some of the other ones. They have the best implementation in place and it is that once the console is in your cart you do not have to worry about checking out as fast as possible. They are the only 3rd party retailer to have this in place. On all of the other retailers you would have to get the item in your cart and then try to checkout as fast as you can. With this process it was frustrating because you could get to the last step and checkout would fail because they sold out as you were checking out. Gamestop takes the crown with the 3rd party retailers.
What Microsoft and Sony did right and what can they improve on for future releases
Microsoft and Sony both had releases on their actual websites as well. Both companies had some woes with their own websites. For Microsoft they had issues with their websites crashing and people being allowed to buy more than one console. As for Playstation they had a queue you had to wait in to get onto their website. On the first few releases there was a workaround you could do to bypass the queue which was allowing users to unfairly skip in front of people. Playstation did require you to sign into your Playstation network account in order to buy a console and would also limit you to 1 console per account.
For future releases they need to over prepare for the number of people that they think will want their console on release. They clearly did not have enough made at the release. I understand there is a pandemic going on but there was no need to rush a release with an underwhelming amount of consoles in stock for each company. With the low amount of consoles available on release this led to scalpers putting forth extra effort to get their hands on a bunch so that they could resell them for $400-$500 more than the retail price. This led to a lot of very unhappy supporters. They also should have strict rules in place for each 3rd party retailer so that there is consistency with each of them.
The PS5 has been the better selling console overall. As you can see by the graphics below. The PS5 has sold roughly 4.48 million units, where as the Xbox Series X/S has only sold around 2.4 million. The PS5 dominating the market like this led to it being a more popular buy for scalpers and when scalpers got their hand on it they were putting it up on welling websites for $800 or more. The PS5 disc version retails for $399 USD and the digital version retails for $499 USD. I hope that for future releases they realize the gigantic demand for their consoles and plan accordingly.
Final Thoughts and Where to Buy One
Overall, neither company did very well at all for their initial releases. The PS5 seemed like the harder console to obtain but that was due to the extremely high demand. I am quite certain the Xbox Series X would have been just as difficult to obtain if the roles were reversed. With that being said neither of these consoles were a cake walk to get your hands on which is shocking given the technology in todays world.
The lifesaver for me and many of my friends was a few accounts on Twitter that their hobby is to inform people of when sales go live for technology. Here are a few accounts to follow and keep an eye on.
Be sure to check in on these 3rd party retailers to obtain a next-gen console.
- Walmart Xbox Series X
- Walmart PS5
- Target Xbox Series X
- Target PS5
- Best Buy Xbox Series X
- Best Buy PS5
- Amazon Xbox Series X
- Amazon PS5
- Gamestop Xbox Series X
- Gamestop PS5
Here are the links for the companies websites and where to buy from there.
Be sure to use your US Unlocked virtual payments card to get your hand on a next generation console! You can sign up here